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I LOVE to do a daily Bible study
I love to just jump in and read the Bible. I can get so lost in the incredible stories! It truly is my favorite book.
BUT, as much as I love to read it, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to read, or that the information always sticks. Some parts of the Bible are incredibly tricky for me to understand, and some parts are so loaded with important information that I feel like I need to meditate on one Scripture for a week before moving on.
Quite often I like to work through scripted daily Bible studies, do daily devotionals, and read other books about the Bible to aid in my learning and growth. These kinds of things are great tools to really enhance your understanding of God’s Word.
But it’s also vitally important to read through the Word on your own.
For me, this is the time when I feel God speak to me the most. I am not on a quest to “read the Bible in a year,” or “get 20 minutes a day” in, I am on a quest to intimately know my King.
I don’t read just to say I did it, I read to draw nearer to the one who created me, the lover of my soul, the creator of the universe. [bctt tweet=”Read the Bible to draw nearer to your creator, the lover of your soul, the creator of the Universe.” via=”no”]
So, today I want to share with you how I am currently studying my Bible and making the most out of what I am learning.
There are lots of ideas out there for how to color code your Bible and why you should do it. Many of them lead you on a quest to find Scriptures on a specific topic and highlight them all. I do study like this occasionally, when I need information on one specific subject, but I think if you always study like this you miss the bigger picture and you can easily take things out of context.
I like to keep it simple and let God really minister to my heart.
By reading just a short bit and then taking the time to thoroughly dissect it, I can really let it just soak in, penetrate my mind and my heart, and ultimately transform me into the person God created me to be.
After I have color-coded the passage, then I jot down the things that really stood out to me in my study journal. I am a visual learner so my journal is pretty colorful, that’s helpful to me later on when I re-read it.
Studying like this has taken my quiet time to a whole new level, by building up my own confidence. I’m no longer relying on the studies that other people have done (as good as they may be), instead I’m allowing God to create a perfect Bible study, uniquely designed for me and only me.
The lessons He is teaching me are completely unique to my season in life, to my circumstances, to my gifts, and to my struggles.
And at the same time I am growing deeper in my relationship with God as He reveals His nature and His character to me. I’ll never find another study that is that perfect for me, and neither will you!
Here is how you can begin your own unique and completely customized daily Bible study:
- Bible (I chose one that I had not written much in, like starting with a clean slate)
- pens (I use one ballpoint, and one porous point pen thateasilywrites over the crayon)
- Side note, these porous point pens are AWESOME, and they are actually made by blind Americans
- colored pencils or crayons (I like to use Crayola Twistables)
- post-it notes (I use the super sticky 3×3 and the post it page markers)
- a blank notebook (I love these)
- anything else you need or want (this is all about what works for you!)
- Create a color-code chart, assigning a different color or highlighter to each category. Think about what kind of things are you looking for in your study time. You can make this as simple or as complex as you like. I have seen some lists with only 3-4 things and I have seen some that are a few pages long! Mine currently has 18 categories; it didn’t start with that many but as I find things that I feel are relevant and don’t really fit within my current categories, then I just add new ones. My current categories look like this…
- Meaningful to me as a Christian
- Meaningful to me as a wife
- Meaningful to me as a mom
- Meaningful to me as a teacher (school-related)
- Meaningful to me as an encourager (blog-related)
- Sin! Danger! Stop! Warnings!
- Characteristics of God
- Prayer references
- Financial references
- “In Christ” Scriptures
- Relationship references
- God’s words
- God’s commands
- God’s promises
- Desirable traits to have/copy
- Instructions for right living
- Decide where you want to dive in. There is no perfect design or a specific guided reading plan for this type of study. Start reading wherever you want to. I am currently working my way through the Psalms, doing only one Psalm at a time, but if I sit down tomorrow and suddenly have the urge to be in Hebrews, I have the freedom to do that! You can read wherever you choose to and you can do as much or as little as you like. If you want to do an entire book, one chapter, or just one verse it’s completely up to you. Let God speak to your heart to help you decide. (If you are brand new to the Bible, a great place to start in is the New Testament in the book of John, followed by James.)
- Read through your selection. Then re-read it, paying special attention to every word, phrase, and idea. Carefully dissect it and highlight/color/underline each part according to your color-code chart. Sometimes a particular section may fall in line with several of your categories. When that happens to me, I just get creative and make a way to use each color I need. (Remember, I’m visual and this works for me!)
- Use the post-its and your pens to jot down anything important enough that you want to have a quick reference right in your Bible.
- Read your passage again! Notice each individual part that you have highlighted and allow God to really let it sink in. When you hear that still small voice inside, telling you “Hey, this is important, maybe you should be paying attention here,” that’s the voice of God calling out to you. LISTEN TO IT!!
- Use your notebook to jot down important notes about the things you have learned. I like to write a few notes about each highlight I’ve made, that is my way to go deeper and let the truth of God’s word minister to my heart and mind. I also like to make my notebook very colorful (it’s that visual learning thing again) to help important things stand out, and to make for quick reference for me in the future. If you have nevertriedjournaling your Bible study time, the SOAP Method may be very helpful to you. It works like this:
- Scripture– write a Scripture or passage that was meaningful to you.
- Observation– write down what stuck out to you about this passage. What is God saying? What did you learn from it?
- Application– write down a way that you can make this passage personal. Is there something you can do to begin applying what you learned to your life today?
- Prayer– write out a personal prayer stemming from what you have read. You can ask for help in the application, ask for deeper revelation regarding this topic, ask for ways to share what you have learned with others, or just pray the Scriptures over yourself and others.
- Finally, never allow yourself to feel rushed!!! If you can’t finish all of these steps in one sitting then put it aside and come back to it later. Life happens, give yourself a break. Reading God’s Word should be a time of rejuvenation for your soul, it shouldn’t feel stressful. Give yourself time to really reflect and seek God so that He can reveal His truth to you. Sometimes it may take me several days to finish up all of these steps for just one passage, and that is the beauty of studying like this! I’m never rushed, I never feel guilty for not keeping up with someone else’s timeline because I am studying according to my own timeline. You will never feel pressured to finish by a certain date when you allow God to take control of your study time and gently lead you to where He wants you to be.
Now go, be encouraged, get your crayons and get creative with God!
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Blessings and love,